West Texas A & M University was the place to be yesterday if you wanted to see the West Texas High School Comanches on the diamond. The Tribe was the visiting team in their first of a best of three series against the Nazareth Swifts. The Comanches are vying for the Bi-District trophy and a chance to move on to the Area round against Clarendon. WT High took control of their destiny in game one with a 6-1 win over the Swifts.
Carlos Juarez pitched all seven innings for the Tribe. He had eight strike outs, walked two, and allowed five hits. The one run that Naz had was in the bottom of the seventh, and it was unearned. Juarez, a Junior, was cool as a cucumber, even when the Swifts loaded the bases in the bottom of the third. Two walks and a Comanche error loaded them up with two outs. He struck out the batter for the third out.
The Comanches looked like they might have a case of nerves with their first at bat, but they settled down after that. They went three up and three down in the top of the first, as did Nazareth, courtesy of a double play. Juarez caught a high fly and caught the runner returning to first base for the third out.
Senior Terrence Bonds, (winner of the Class A Regional 300 hurdles) got on with a base hit in the bottom of the second. Thanks to some wild throws from the Swifts, he scored the Tribe’s first run in the top of the second. Two strike outs and a 6-3 play was the Swifts outing at the plate. After two, the Comanches were up 1-0.
The Tribe put two runners on in the top of the third. Logan Hoff hit a nice ball to right field and Jeremy O’Gorman got on courtesy of being hit by a pitch. Hoff got all the way home on more wild throws from the Swifts, and O’Gorman was stranded on third. Nazareth flied out to center and Juarez fanned hitter number two. With two outs, a couple of base on balls and a hard infield hit loaded the bases, Juarez threw three straight strikes to retire the side. WT led 2-0 after three.
Bonds led off in the top of the fourth and hit a sweet ball to center. The fielder let the ball go between his legs and it rolled to the fence. Bonds and his speed took advantage of the mistake and sped around all three bases to score another run for WT. Juarez got after being beaned by the pitcher. Robert Sale hit a sacrifice bunt to move Juarez in to scoring position, but he was left on third. Two infield plays to first, one from second and the other from third, plus a strike out, retired Naz after three up and three down. The Tribe hung on to a 3-0 lead after four.
This time it was three up three down for the Comanches in the top of the fifth. The Swifts got a hit on the ground between short and third, but the Comanches sat them down with a 6-3, a fly to second base, and a strike out. They still led 3-0 after five innings.
Kyle Stroud led off for WT in the top of the sixth. His speed got him two stolen bases and a passed ball by the Naz catcher, allowing his speed to get him home. Juarez banged out a stand up triple next, but he was left stranded on third. The Swifts got one base hit but got that one out at second. A fielding error, one of only two on the Tribe, allowed another runner on. However, the infield made plays to first base to retire the side with one man left on base. The score was 4-0 Tribe after five.
With one out, Logan Hoff got on with a base hit. An error on the first baseman got him to second base. O’Gorman banged out a base hit deep into the outfield that scored Hoff. O’Gorman, the District record holder in the 200M, scored when Big Ty Lay hit one into the outfield. While O’Gorman had the Swifts attention taking home, Lay attempted to take second base, which was left completely unattended. Unfortunately, Lay’s size had him at a disadvantage, and Nazareth got him out at second. Stroud was the final out on a hard hit ground ball to short, but the Tribe added two more runs to take a 6-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh.
It looked like Naz might have a little rally. Their lead off man got on with a hit to center. The next man hit to short and the Tribe got the out at second base on a fielder’s choice. That left the Swifts a runner on first. Juarez fanned the next man for out number two. A base hit to center gave the Swifts another base runner. A throwing error by WT scored the runner, but the game ended with the next hitter, when Bonds caught a fly in center field.
Logan Hoff was 2-2 and scored both times he was on base. O’Gorman went 1-4 with an RBI. Lay was 2-4 with an RBI. Juarez had a stand up triple and also got on base with a walk and was hit by a pitch. Bonds went 1-3 but got on base every time and scored two runs on errors.
Game number two is Saturday at WTAMU at 5 PM. Game three will follow 30 minutes after that, if necessary.